Beta Phi Wins Robert Adger Smythe Award
On July 29 at the biennial Pi Kappa Alpha Academy in Memphis, Tennessee, the Beta Phi Chapter won its first Smythe Award since 1988. Congratulations are in order. Congratulations foremost to the active members who invested the time and effort needed to win an award given to only 10% of Pi Kappa Alpha chapters annually. As the Chapter focuses on the next goal, I’d like to humbly submit why I believe every chapter should strive for this award, and what this award means.
The Smythe Award is given to a chapter based on its performance in key areas of fraternal programming, including but not limited to community service, philanthropy, academics, athletics, recruitment, and campus involvement. I’ve never asked Justin Buck, Epsilon Iota ’96 why Headquarters emphasizes programs like those, but it’s been my impression that a chapter’s worth is directly tied to its ability to improve its membership, as I discussed in my spring Candlelight article. In fact, every category used to grade a chapter is a reflection of the chapter’s ability to produce competent, considerate, and successful young men.
Those men graduate from college into respectable careers (academics), take active leadership and non-leadership roles in their community (community service and campus involvement), and hopefully contribute financially to their community with the understanding that we, as college graduates, have been very fortunate (philanthropy). These are a few examples.
A Smythe Award is a confirmation that the Beta Phi Chapter is on the correct path toward building a positive fraternal experience that will improve the communities these men eventually move to. I intentionally use the word “path,” because it’s important to understand that the Chapter has not “arrived.” From experience, the first Smythe is the easiest. Great fraternal experiences are larger than awards, and it is up to the Chapter to develop goals and a culture that awards themselves do not create. As alumni, it is our job to help those young men along that path.
Matt Folz, Theta Omicron ’07
Home Association President